Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tee Time two

After the success of the LDWR T-shirt, Front & Follow are putting ink to cotton one more time to accompany their latest release Will Ever Pray by The Doomed Bird of Providence. The t-shirt is available to pre order at the moment over at the F&F store, either on it's own or as part of an TDBOP bundle. For more info pop over to their site.

Birch Book

Back in 2009 Paris based label 7eme Ciel set out its stall with it's first release for cult English group And Also The Trees. The aim of the label was to work along side the musicians to create a series of special releases. As a music fan myself I can't tell you how many times I have been let down by poor quality sleeves, badly pressed vinyl and graphic ideas that went no further than a photo of the artist(s) with their name written in whatever was the font of the day, so as a graphic designer I was thrilled to be involved.

The labels first release sold out in a matter of months after it went on sale and now I have just finished designing the next release which features an Oregeon based muscian called B'ee recording under the name of Birch Book. Like the previous release it will be on 10" heavy vinyl, housed in a gate-fold sleeve and accompanied by an embroidered patch, two ltd edition prints and a version of the release on CD. Here are a few snaps of how it is looking, I'll post more when the final version is in hand and talk about the ideas behind the illustrations.

Gate-fold interior mock-up, 1 colour print on greyboard
Fox illustration in full for the ltd. edition print

Tree ring illustration for the CD on body and the ltd. edition print
Embroidered patch

Embroidered patch, detail
This is how the last release for 7eme Ciel looked you can see more shots over on their website

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

1000 Paper Cranes

Pika Pika member and good friend Miho Aishima is doing a 1000 origami paper crane challenge to raise money to help the recovery in Japan after the devastation caused by the recent tsunami and earthquake. As Miho explains "In Japan, it is said that whoever folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish – my wish is for a swift recovery in rebuilding their lives and homes in Japan."

The money raised will be donated to the British Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Tsunami appeal. If you would like to donate and spur Miho on her way just click the link which will take you to her donation page.

Good luck Miho!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Paul Fusco - Chernobyl Legacy

After the terrible events in Japan I was a bit at a loss as to what to say. The images that streamed from TV screens seemed biblical in their scale and impact and as a spectator watching them on the other side of the world, a feeling of utter helplessness engulfed me. Then as if an earthquake and tsunami were not enough there was the threat of a nuclear meltdown as well.

The media reported the quake and tsunami much in the same way that I felt; a stunned sense of disbelief, but for me some of the reporting on the nuclear incident at Fukushima lacked fact and seemed to be mostly based on rumour and speculation, some of it seeming to do nothing other than scaremonger! It was this lack of clarity that sent me off to find other sources of information. The reports of radiation leaks and of an imagined meltdown inevitably drew parallels with past disasters such as Chernobyl and it was through this that I discovered the work of Magnum photographer Paul Fusco.

Most of us know about Chernobyl and the events of 26 April 1986, (for a quick refresh here is a link to a time-line). Fusco spent a year planning a visit to Chernobyl in 2006, 20 years after the event to see what the human consequences of the meltdown were and his photo essay pulls no punches, I watched it with my heart wrestling with my Adam's apple, the photos show the legacy that the disaster has left behind. Generations of children have born with a wide array of birth defects caused by the radiation levels. The photographs not only illustrate the lasting effects of radiation and the community but also of the raw power of photography.

The work of Robert Polidori and his book Pripyat and Chernobyl looked at the devastation that was wreaked to a number of towns and cities around the Chernobyl reactor. His photos showing Marie Celeste like spaces where objects were left in place, as if someone had just stepped out of shot. These are haunting and leave you feeling as if maybe the disaster at Chernobyl was just collateral damage but the work of Paul Fusco takes those deserted buildings, streets and towns and places real people, real stories and real consequences in them.

I have attached a couple more of his images from this series but I highly recommend that you click here and take a look at his images in full and hear him talk about this project. I warn you that it is not for the faint hearted.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Praying Alive!

Forgive the terrible pun but the latest release from Front & Follow, Will Ever Pray is just hot of the press. One69A the talented printers have just sent me a link to their print blog showcasing the debut album from The Doomed Bird of Providence.

As a bit of background to the project, the idea behind The Doomed Bird of Providence according to the bands frontman Mark Kluzek stemmed from the desire to bring to life stories from colonial Australian history. Not the sort of stories that you might typically come across but those stories of a darker, less palatable nature. This was one of the key elements that I wanted to be reflected in the packaging. As the songs were based on true tales of Australia's colonial past it seemed like a good idea to make the lyric booklet look and feel like a news sheet, reporting the stories told in the songs. Paul Loudon supplied all the illustrations, going through the lyrics picking out macabre elements as well as doing a bit of botanical research to piece together the flora and fauna of Australia. I then brought these together and the end result was screen printed as a single colour on news print paper.

Here are a few more shots of the insert, if you would like to see more pop over to One69A's site. And if your really taken by it you can pre order the album at the F&F site.

Insert front, with all the lyrics and credits

Insert back, dedicated to creating a large image bringing
together elements used on the sleeve and to illustrate the stories
Insert folded to fit in the card sleeve

Friday Photo

Enda, Northern Ireland, 2006

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A Whale's Tale

I got a graphics tablet a while back and it was just sitting on top of my scanner so I brought it out the other day and this was the result. I usually draw in my sketchbook and then scan in the results but I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

But while a whale well I'm working on a brief that involves whales so that provided the starting point but I think this guy could have a life of his own, maybe in a storybook! I must get my thinking cap on.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

London Ears

Just another little discovery called London Ears, a pretty comprehensive and simply simple listings site for gigs in London. Each gig has one line, whit the essential info of who, where, when and how much! It  even has a Spotify playlist to help you out if your finding it hard to make your mind up about which gig to go to.

Anyone fancy doing this for Paris?

Digital Cameras

Just a quick nod towards a little website I came across by Billy Brown.

Billy has recreated all your favourite cameras as little pixel portraits. All of them are free to download and to use as long as you give the man credit, now you can't ask fairer than that.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Jan Pienkowski

I have been creating a new papercut for an event happening in June called Fairy tales and Monsters. I will be posting some images of it's progression later this week, but in the meantime I just wanted to highlight one of it's inspirations, Jan Pienkowski.

Jan Pienkowski is one of those illustrators that people may not know by name but show some one one of his drawings and you will have everybody exclaiming "Oh him!!". If you are of a certain age then you will instantly recognise his most famous creations Meg and Mog who I am rediscovering at the moment through my two year old daughter who has insisted that they are her bedtime read for the past two months!

He was born in Warsaw in 1936, made his first book when he was 8, as a present for his father (on the subject of road rage - but featuring a horse and cart). When WWII arrived he moved through Europe,from Poland to Austria, Germany, Italy and then finally to England in 1946. There he read Classics and English and started creating  posters for theatre, but it was with his pop up books and Meg and Mog that he became best known.

It was his book of fairy tales that caught my eye when thinking about creating my paper cut. he used delicately drawn silhouettes to tell four classic European fairy tales and although I could not capture his detailing through cutting paper it was a joy to look at and to let my imagination run riot. I have  a few images from Joan Aiken's Kingdom of the Sea which he illustrated in 1972 and won the Kate Greenaway Medal. I also came across this enchanting audio slideshow on him talking about his work, I recommend taking the time to watch it.

This snakey fellow from the cover of "The Kingdom Under the Sea"
reminded me of the monster in the title sequence of Pixars' Monsters Inc.
I wonder if a few seeds of inspiration were planted?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Will Ever Pray progress

Just got these in my inbox from Justin at Front & Follow. The printers, one69a have just finished screening the card sleeves and are just about to get cracking on the lyric sheet/poster insert.
It's nice to see it come together. More pics as they arrive.

Friday, 4 March 2011

World Book Day

What's your favourite book? Do you have a classic that you keep going back to? One of my first loves was Richard Scarry's What do People Do All Day?
At my Primary school Friday was Library Day and we were allowed to choose a book to take home and enjoy over the weekend. I remember one time getting told off by my Teacher at because for a certain period of time I kept choosing the a fore mentioned What do People Do All Day?  I would put it back on the book shelf return to my seat only to go straight back and choose it for another week. 
I loved the illustrations, I would get lost in them, looking at all the little details that were crammed onto the page by Mr. Scarry. It also gave me an informed idea of what people did for a living and why the Butcher didn't drive a car shaped like a chop or the Dentist one shaped like a Toothbrush.
It was also one of the first books I bought for my son and five years down the line he seems to love it as much as me. So if your looking for a good read for young and old to celebrate World Book Day then you won't go far wrong.
But if reading books isn't your thing then what about cutting them up? No I'm not advocating book mutilation but a friend sent me a link to the work of Brian Dettmer  earlier today. Brian makes fantastic paper sculptures using old books,  go to his site and check out his fantastic creations, in the meantime here is a clip of Brian talking about his work. Happy reading!

Friday Photo

Two Spidermen from the series We can be Heroes, Northern Ireland, 2008